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May 12, 2014

Michael Sam’s Draft Day Kiss: ESPN as Deep Throat

I guess the question for me about Saturday’s visual event is: how many young men selected 249th in the NFL draft have an ESPN crew stationed in his house to record his reaction to the news? If that seems like either a dumb or an obvious question, therein lies the problem.

With military policy now “do ask, do tell,” and with Jason Collins having already broken the publicly-informed gay barrier in the NBA, I’m inclined to agree with Reason.com’s smart editorial about this molehill. If we’re looking for the real news and significance, it’s how much Saturday’s much hyped event didn’t shake the earth; how much the congratulations seemed a bit perfunctory; and how much people, overwhelmingly, didn’t care.

That being the story, the real event here is the media’s auto-propensity to amplify, to (effectively) sensationalize (1, 2, 3), to make the most of the least, to give platforms to naysayers and make all of us flies on the wall without causing us to think about how we got in the room in the first place.

McCoy 2 tweet

Derrick Ward tweet

To the extent that football players like Derrick Ward and Case McCoy were disgusted yesterday, by the way, it’s illuminating how much their reactions got publicized and then scored off, as well. That’s how deep the media industrial complex (and the sports industrial complex) is in our bloodstream that these athletes got singled out for bigotry — not for calling out the network for setting the stage.

And then, when did drawing names out of a hat turn into a daytime reality show anyway. Cac-hing!

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